Destruction of Art as Crime Against Humanity?

Center for Art Law

“Crimes against humanity,” decided by the International Criminal Court, include ‘odious offenses’ against human beings but not inanimate objects. The International Court of Justice may only hear disputes between states as parties to the dispute and usually those stemming from an international treaty or convention. There is no international forum to decide crimes against art and there are no laws declaring art destruction a crime against humanity. The apparent fate of the paintings stolen from the Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum in the Netherlands on October 16, 2012, is calling for retribution and international efforts to protect great works of art from successful but thoughtless thieves.

The seven paintings stolen from Kunsthal’s exhibition last fall, included Picasso’s Harlequin Head (1971), two late Monet’s Waterloo Bridge, London (1901) and Charing Cross Bridge, London (1901), Matisse’s Reading Girl in White and Yellow (1919), Paul Gauguin’s Girl in Front of Open Window (1898), Meyer…

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